Poem: Becoming Joanne

I wrote this poem in response to a prompt from Silver Birch Press for their “All About My Name” series. They kindly included it in their series and I posted the link, so some of you may already have read it, but I know some people don’t click on links, so I am posting the poem here today. I hope you like it.

Becoming Joanne
 – by Joanne Corey

If my grandfather Giovanni
had not fled the Old Country
before the Great War,
I might have been Giovanna
or piccola Giovanina.
Born in 1960s New England,
I was Joanne —
one word —
small a —
with an e —
to avoid confusion with four classmates
who answered to that common name.

When I was eighteen,
my Latin teacher derived and gave
meaning to my name:
Joanne —
feminine of John —
from Hebrew –
variously translated as
God is gracious- —
Gift of God —
God’s gracious gift.
A daunting aspiration
as I began adulthood.

After decades of striving
to fulfill the promise,
to be worthy of my name,
in my sixth decade,
wisdom dawns.
God freely gifts grace.
have always been,
will always be
Joanne —
God’s gracious gift —
living out a universal call.

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